An analysis is presented of the suitability of the method of equivalent linearization for estimating the fatigue life of a nonlinear structure. Comparisons are made of the fatigue life of a nonlinear plate as predicted using conventional equivalent linearization and three other more accurate methods. The excitation of the plate is assumed to be Gaussian white noise and the plate response is modeled using a single resonant mode. The methods used for comparison consist of numerical simulation, a probabalistic formulation, and a modification of equivalent linearization which avoids the usual assumption that the response process is Gaussian. Remarkably close agreement is obtained between all four methods, even for cases where the response is significantly linear.